The former Bayern Munich midfielder thinks that changes introduced for the match against Greece ruined the confidence of some of the team's regular startersEXCLUSIVE
By Maximilian Bensinger
Former Germany international Thomas Strunz has voiced his belief that Joachim Low's squad rotation policy contributed to the team's semi-final exit at Euro 2012 against Italy.
A late penalty from Mesut Ozil was not enough to prevent die Mannschaft from suffering a 2-1 defeat to the Azzurri, who took the lead in the first half with two goals from Mario Balotelli.
Low made several changes to Germany's starting line-up for the quarter-final match against Greece, and Strunz thinks that players began to have doubts about their role in the team.
"You should always stick to the a formation," Strunz told Goal.com. "The changes for the Greece game led to widespread unrest in the squad.
"I do not think those three changes for the Greece game were needed. It is obvious that some players had problems with them.
"Mario Gomez starts three matches in the tournament, then he is suddenly dropped to the bench, while Lukas Podolski lost the momentum from the match against Denmark.
"The players suddenly doubted themselves."
Strunz, who represented his country between 1990 and 1999, then admitted that Italy deserved to win the match and drew parallels between the national team and Bayern Munich.
"The better team won," he explained. "Italy were superior to us in every way. The team showed again they cannot deal with being behind.
"After falling behind, they completely lost their heads. So you have to make comparisons with Bayern, who were only able to come from behind once in the past season.
"Germany have a large Bayern contingent, and they do not know how to deal with the situation.
"In the Bundesliga, they are mostly used to a system with one striker. Against Italy, it was suddenly a defensive game with man-marking."
The 44-year-old dismissed suggestions that Germany gave a good account of themselves during the tournament and blasted the mentality of Low's men.
"We should not get drunk if we do well in qualifying matches or friendlies - they are irrelevant," Strunz affirmed.
"It is not about footballing quality, but a winning mentality. The absolute will to win is missing. The Italians showed that intent from the first minute.
"There is a lot of talk about how the team actually had a good tournament. Maybe we should look at things more critically. Did they really play well? Which player really played at full capacity?"